What is Behind the Effort to Destroy the United States Postal Service?

by | Nov 19, 2021 | Money and Politics, Opinions

Photo by Sam LaRussa

What is Behind the Effort to Destroy the United States Postal Service?

by | Nov 19, 2021 | Money and Politics, Opinions

Photo by Sam LaRussa
The capability of the United States Postal Service to ensure timely and reliable delivery of letters, packages and even "junk" mail is absolutely critical to the health of this country.

Back in 2019 I had the opportunity to spend two and a half months in South Africa. It is a wonderfully beautiful and vibrant country held back in part by a horribly non-functional and corrupt postal service. In South Africa there is pretty much no such thing as a reliable postal delivery service. The country has a patchwork of private delivery services. Buying a battery for a computer became a saga of finding a person who had one and could deliver it to our hotel personally. We were in Johannesburg and one vendor offered to fly it up from Cape Town.

I use the South Africa example to furnish contrast and put the kibosh on the idea anyone may harbor that our Postal Service is some rinky-dink amateur outfit. Far far from it. I know this from personal experience. In the past I ran a printing and mailing company and worked closely with the USPS. While any organization can have a few bad apples, and the USPS is no exception, I’ve never experienced a more professional and dedicated operation.

At a First Class mail sorting facility in Pasadena, I watched massive machines in operation that could automatically read, analyze and sort 50,000 mailing pieces per hour. I did not count how many there were. But “snail mail” does not apply to this reality. At least it didn’t until Louis DeJoy started ordering the dismantling of these monsters and trashing them.

The continual Republican lament we hear is that the Postal Service loses money and has to be supported by tax dollars. To this I have one response, “So what.” The capability of the United States Postal Service to ensure timely and reliable delivery of letters, packages and even “junk” mail is absolutely critical to the health of this country. Supporting the USPS with my tax dollars is actually at the top of my wish list as opposed to another $780 billion or so into the most astronomically bloated defense budget on the planet.

The more communication an organization is capable of, the more life it is capable of. In other words, supporting the USPS is a good investment.

Louis DeJoy’s actions of slowing the USPS down to reduce its budget deficit could not be more wrong-headed. But there’s more to this.

For decades Republican Party backers have lusted after the idea of privatizing the Post Office. They see the massive revenue stream and the vast and intricate infrastructure of delivery capability as something to profit from.

And so, the Republican Party tried to strangle the USPS by sabotaging its finances. According to the Institute for Policy Studies:

In 2006, Congress passed a law that imposed extraordinary costs on the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) required the USPS to create a $72 billion fund to pay for the cost of its post-retirement health care costs, 75 years into the future. This burden applies to no other federal agency or private corporation.

The USPS lost about $87 billion over a 14-year period. Much of this because of that 2006 law designed essentially to bankrupt it.

A bill to remedy this insanity, H. R. 2382, was passed overwhelmingly by the House in 2020 but died in the Senate under the legislative obstruction known as Mitch McConnell.

The appointment of DeJoy—who has a personal financial interest in seeing to a reduction of the USPS’s capabilities—is consistent with the long-term Republican efforts to sabotage the service.

An organization like the USPS makes revenue by the volume of services it delivers. And lowering its ability to deliver under the guise of cutting back on expenses, actually worsens the revenue problem—which of course is the intent.

The old game of sabotage and redirect the blame is afoot here. DeJoy needs to be out. Any members of the USPS Board of Governors that support his activities need to be out. Functionality needs to be restored and enhanced.

The last thing the United States needs is to have its internal lines of communication tampered with by greedy corporate schemers with their eye fixed on a bottom line they don’t need.

Our unemployment is now under 5 percent. In South Africa, that percentage is over 34 percent. The comparison of unemployment rates with postal service quality may seem far-fetched. But examine the implications in detail and you might form another opinion.

Another simple solution is the buy a few less F35s and other war weapons and invest in the prosperity of the US instead.

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Barnhart

    The United States Post Office is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. … It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 into the United States Postal Service as an independent agency. – THE POST OFFICE WAS NOT MEANT TO BE A PROFIT CENTER – I believe it would take a constitutional amendment to totally privatize the Post Office.

    Reply

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